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State's response to George Zimmerman's motion to disqualify judge

State's response to George Zimmerman's motion to disqualify judge

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Published by: The Florida Times-Union on Jul 17, 2012
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INTHECIRCUITCOURTOFTHEEIGHTEENTHJUDICIALCIRCUITINANDFORSEMINOLECOUNTY,FLORIDASTATEOFFLORIDA
VS.
CASENO.:2012-001083-CFASANO:1712F04573GEORGEZIMMERMAN
--------~--------~/
STATE'SRESPONSETODEFENDANT'SVERIFIEDMOTIONTODISQUALIFYTRIALJUDGETheStateofFlorida,byandthroughtheundersignedAssistantStateAttorney,filesthefollowingresponsetoDefendant'sVerifiedMotiontoDisqualifytheCourt",filedonJuly13,2012.SUMMARYOFARGUMENTDefendant,whohasawebsitededicatedtothiscase,andhisattorney,whohasprovidedcommentaryaboutthecasetothemediaonaregularbasis,requestdisqualificationoftheCourt.DefendanttakesissuewiththeCourt'sdeterminationfollowingasecondbondhearingthatDefendantandfamilymemberswhotestifiedonhisbehalfhadnotbeenfullycandidandforthrightintheirdealingswiththeCourt.ThesefindingswerebasedonevidencepresentedtotheCourt.Alljudgesonaregularbasisareaskedtolistentoevidenceandmakedecisionsontheevidencepresented.Ifapartydoesn'tlikeacourt'sfindingsthatdoesn'tmeantheyhavetherighttoaskforanewjudge.Furthermore,counselforDefendant(whosignedtheinstantMotion,alongwithhisclient)makesasimilarcomplaint,despitethefactthat
counselhimselfhas,inpublic,tothemedia,
1
TheStatenotesthatthisisthe
second
judgewhichDefendanthasmovedtohavedisqualified.
ZIMMERMAN,GEORGE12-1083-CFPage1of9
 
onmorethanoneoccasion,proclaimedessentiallythesamethingshenowcontendsmakeheandhisclient"concerned"aboutbeingtreated'fairly_"
Defendant'sMotionislongonconjectureandirrelevantandinaccuratebombast(Motion,Backgroundsectionpages2&3,fn.1),shortonactualfact,anddevoidoflegalmerit.OnemightponderthemotiveforincludingirrelevantmaterialinsuchaMotion;isthedesignmerelytoget.sympathyforDefendantand/ortoprejudicepotentialjurors?Asanexample:amongotherthings,Defendantassertsthathe
might
havetestifiedtoaGrandJury.However,heomitsmentionofthefactthatwhenpresentedthe
actualopportunity
totestify(athissecondbondhearing)regardingtheverymattersgermanetohiscredibility,hedeclinedtodoso.Defendantalsoreferstootherextraneousmatters."TheStatefilesthisresponsetomakesurethelawasitappliesonthisissueisaccuratelydescribedandsothatanyirrelevantandinaccuratemisinformationinDefendant'sMotionisidentifiedassuchandnotwronglybelievedbythepublicasbeingcorrect.STANDARDOFREVIEW
"[a]motiontodisqualifyshallbefiledwithinareasonabletime
nottoexceed10days
afterdiscoveryofthefactsconstitutingthegroundsforthemotionandshallbepromptlypresentedtothecourtforanimmediateruling."Fla.R.Jud.Admin.2.160{e)(2004).
Doorbalv.State,983So.2d464,475(Fla.2008).
2
DefendantreferencesthatanInformationwasfiledratherthanpresentingthecasetoaGrandJury(asifsomethingillegalorimproperwasdone).AsDefenseCounselisaware,legallytheonlycrimerequiredtobepresentedtoaGrandJuryisFirstDegreeMurder,allothercrimescanandareroutinelychargedbythefilingofanInformation.DefendantalsomentionsthattheaffidavitusedtoestablishprobablecausefailedtoincludeDefendant'sso-calledself-defenseclaim.Again,asDefenseCounselisaware,underthelawthereisnolegalrequirementthatitbedone.Self-defenseisanaffirmativedefense.WhythisandothersuchmattersisdiscussedinamotiontodisqualifytheJudgeisanopenquestion;perhapssoitcouldbepublishedbythemediaandinDefendant'swebsite,and--withoutanyresponsebytheState--bewronglyperceivedasaccurate.
ZIMMERMAN,GEORGE12-1083-CFPage2of9
 
MuchofDefendant'sMotionrelatestomatterswhichoccurredsubstantiallymorethanten(10)dayspriortothefilingoftheinstantMotion.Despitethefactthathenowclaimstobeindireapprehensionofunfairtreatment,apparentlynoneofthisbotheredhimintheslightestuntil
after
thisCourtsethisbondthesecondtime.ThisCourt,andanyother,shouldbejustifiablyskepticalofsuchremarkablecoincidence.Indeed,theonlymatterscontainedintheMotionwhichoccurredwithintherelevanttimeframe,aretheCourt'sOrderofJuly5,2012,whichsetabondforDefendant.ThistooisapointDefendant
j
I
I
apparentlyoverlooks;despitesupposedlybeingbiasedagainsthim,theCourthasTWICEgrantedhimbondinthishigh-profilehomicidecase,andinfacthasexerciseditsdiscretiononnumerousoccasionstograntDefendantbenefitsnotordinarilyenjoyedbythecriminalaccused.Forexample,DefendanthasbeenpermittedtoliveoutsidetheStateofFlorida,tohavewitnessestestifytelephonically,andtoappearincourtincivilianclothingandwithoutshacklesevenwhilehewasincarcerated.Amotiontodisqualifyisgovernedbysection38.10,FloridaStatutes(2011),andFloridaRuleofJudicialAdministration2.330.SeeParkerv.State,3SO.3d974,981(Fla.2009)(citingCavev.State,660SO.2d705,707(Fla.1995)).Whenrulingonthemotion,thetrialjudgeislimitedtodeterminingthelegalsufficiencyofthemotion:
Theterm'tegalsufficiency"encompassesmorethanmeretechnicalcompliancewiththeruleandthestatute.
Thestandardforviewingthelegalsufficiencyofamotiontodisqualifyiswhetherthefactsalleged,whichmustbeassumedtobetrue,wouldcausethemovanttohavea
well-founded
fearthatheorshewillnotreceiveafairtrialatthehandsofthatjudge.SeeFla.
R.
Jud.Admin.2.330(d)(1).Further,thisfearofjudicialbias
mustbeobjectivelvreasonable.
SeeStatev.Shaw,643SO.2d1163,1164(Fla.4thDCA
1994).Thesubjectivefear
ofa
parlvseekingthedisqualification
ofa
judgeisnotsufficient.
SeeKowalskiv.Boyles,557SO.2d885(Fla.5thDCA1990).Rather,thefactsandreasonsgivenforthedisqualificationofajudgemusttendtoshow"thejudge's
undue
bias,prejudice,orsympathy."Jacksonv.State,599So.2d103,107(Fla.1992);seealsoRiverav.State,717SO.2d477,480-81(Fla.1998).
Wheretheclaim
of
judicialbiasisbasedonverygeneralandspeculativeasserlionsaboutthetrialjudge'sattitudes,noreliefiswarranted.
McCraev.State,510SO.2d874,880(Fla.1987).Parker,3SO.3dat982.Krawczukv.State,SC10-680,2012WL1207215(Fla.Apr.12,2012).
ZIMMERMAN,GEORGE12-1083-CFPage3of9

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